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'Given a chance, I'd do it again'

'Given a chance, I'd do it again'

Author: Neeta Sharma
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: December 21, 2001

 "Given a chance, I would do it again. I have no qualms," says 30-year-old Afzal the main co-ordinator for Jaish-e-Mohammad in Delhi.

Despite the fact that he has been arrested for helping the militants in executing an attack on the seat of Indian democracy, he claims that his conscience does not prick as he does not have one.

"If I had a conscience I would have not done what I have been charged for," he said, talking to the Hindustan Times.

Sitting in the Special Cell lock-up sipping tea, he remembers his wife and baby boy and says, "I also have a family - a wife and child - but I am not sure if they will accept me now."

"I am not a hardened militant like the jehadis. I did it for money," confesses Afzal a resident of Sopore, Baramulla (J&K). While recalling his past, he lingers on his school days at Sopore.

According to him, he came to Delhi and moved in with his cousin, Shaukat Hussain Guru, in Mukherjee Nagar.

"I completed my graduation through correspondence from Delhi University. After that I became a commission agent for surgical equipment in Srinagar and used to visit Delhi regularly for business purposes," he added.

According to him, he was contacted by a Jaish-e-Mohammad scout Tariq, who is also a close associate of the Jaish Supreme Commander in India, Ghazi Baba alias Doctor. Ghazi Baba brainwashed Afzal and convinced him to work for Jaish.

Shaukat, his cousin, lays all the blame on Afzal. "I was incited to join in their gameplan by Afzal. They promised me that there was a lot of money in it," he said.

"Since I had no job in hand, I was led astray," he adds.

According to him, his wife, Afsan kept him informed about all the new developments of the day when he was on his way to Jammu, he said.

Meanwhile, 32-year-old Afsan says that initially she tried to prevent her husband from going down the path to disaster, but he never listened to her. "I am a woman. What could I have done?" she says with a hint of regret.

According to her, she was aware about her husband's sinister plans all along. "Meetings used to take place at our residence often," she adds.

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